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Beautiful and exciting, Playa del Carmen, Mexico is a superb destination for your next vacation. Its gorgeous beaches and amazing natural scenery is complemented by the huge range of activities available for you to enjoy. It is also a perfect jumping off point for you to explore the stunning Yucatan peninsula and all it has to offer. To help you plan your perfect trip, we have put together a list of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen.

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Hit the Beach

The white-sand beaches at Playa del Carmen are one of the major draws for visitors from all over the world. There are a number of different beaches here, each with a different appeal. You can enjoy lively beaches which are close to the action, go exploring locals' beaches away from the crowds, or truly get away from it all at a luxurious beach club. Here are our top picks:

  • The beach in front of Fundadores Park is just a stone's throw away from bustling 5th Avenue. There is a playground and events in the park to entertain the children, and adults can enjoy plenty of bars and restaurants just off the beach.
  • Coco beach is truly a locals' beach. If you want to get away from the tourists, this is your spot.
  • Mamita's beach boasts a beach club available for all, with chairs, sun loungers and umbrellas at affordable prices.
beach Playa del Carmen YinYang / Getty Images
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Enjoy Local Yucatan Food

A trip to this part of the world would not be complete without sampling some of its delicious local cuisines. The usual Mexican affair of tacos and quesadillas is plentiful, but you would be missing out if you don't try some of the region's unique dishes. Here are some foods you can sample while in Playa del Carmen:

  • Sopa de Lima. This is a refreshingly tangy lime soup with shredded turkey and tortillas.
  • Conchinita pibil is marinated meat in spices and banana leaves, made from a whole suckling pig.
  • Huevos Motuleños is a must-have Yucatan breakfast, which is fried eggs in refried beans and tomato salsa, often served with ham, peas, and plantain.
  • Salbutes are an alternative to tacos, with meat, lettuce, tomato and avocado served on a fried tortilla.
food in Playa del Carmen carlosrojas20 / Getty Images
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Shop 'Til You Drop!

Playa del Carmen's 5th Avenue is a shopper's paradise. This street stretches for a whopping 22 blocks! You can buy all sorts of souvenirs, tapestry, tequila, chocolate, and a range of other Mexican and Mayan goods. Make sure you take a wander down some of the side streets off 5th Avenue for an even better selection of local arts, crafts and jewelry.

For the fashionistas, Playa del Carmen has numerous malls, including three just off 5th Avenue: Paseo del Carmen, Calle Corazon, and Quinta Alegria.

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Watch the Sunrise

Although not the best place to catch a stunning sunset, for those willing to brave the early morning alarm, a spectacular sunrise will be your reward. The benefit of getting to the beach at this time is that there aren't so many people around, so you can enjoy the peace and quiet along with the fantastic view.

sunrise in Playa del Carmen
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Hire a Scooter

Most places around Playa del Carmen can be reached by bus or taxi, but if you are feeling adventurous or you want to save money, a scooter can be a great way to go. Make sure that you do your homework into the rental places with the best reviews, and remember to take care and heed the rules of the road.

scooter Playa del Carmen Nina Raingold / Getty Images
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Dive or Snorkel

Make the most of the spectacular underwater scenery around Playa del Carmen. You can soak up the beauty of the coral reefs by snorkelling or diving both around Playa del Carmen and off the nearby island of Cozumel. There are plenty of dive shops around the town, and snorkels can be rented in a range of locations.

snorkel Playa del Carmen Mark Evans / Getty Images
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See One of the Seven Wonders of the World

2-3 hours drive from Playa del Carmen is the pre-Hispanic Mayan city of Chichen Itza, one of the new seven wonders of the world. The main event is El Castillo, the towering step pyramid which sits in the middle of the ruined city. Stand the right distance away from the pyramid and clap, and it will clap back at you. Try to get there early in the morning before the tour buses arrive if you want to avoid the crowds.

Playa del Carmen Donald Miralle / Getty Images
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Swim in Beautiful Cenotes

Cenotes are natural caves filled with crystal-clear fresh water, fish, turtles and other exciting flora and fauna. There are a huge number of these beautiful caverns for you to delight in and around Playa del Carmen. There are plenty of tours leaving from Playa del Carmen, or if you have your own transport, you can explore some of the cenotes that are off the beaten track. Take a snorkel with you and relish exploring these fascinating caves.

swimming Playa del Carmen Donald Miralle / Getty Images
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Hit a Rooftop Party

Playa del Carmen is one cool place to party. The town is packed full of trendy rooftop bars and clubs waiting for you to get grooving under the stars. One of the most popular events of the calendar is held by Hostel 3B and SOS. Get yourself down to their bi-monthly all-day pool party playing house, techno and underground beats.

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Experience Culture at the Frida Kahlo Museum

Get to know Frida Kahlo, Mexico's most iconic artist. Frida Kahlo's house in Cayoacan on the outskirts of Mexico City has long been a popular tourist destination for visitors. Now you can experience a taste of her life and work through visiting the Frida Kahlo museum in Play del Carmen.

Playa del Carmen Sean Gallup / Getty Images

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